For many people, as soon as they get their published book, they start thinking about book sales as the main thing. It becomes their primary focus, often to the detriment of their business. They don’t really know how to promote their book, so they start dropping loads of money on Facebook ads, hoping it will lead to that coveted position on The New York Times Best Seller list.
While selling loads of books is a good thing, it isn’t something you want to spend a ton of money on because your return on investment won’t be realized there.
Over-prioritizing Book Sales is Bad for Your Bottom Line
Let’s say you took out an ad on a social media platform to sell your book for $20 a copy. If you’re self-published, selling directly through your website and charging for shipping, you might keep $16 of that.
If you’re a traditionally published author, or even if you went with a hybrid press, you’d be lucky to get $4 or $5 out of that $20. When you think about the number of people you would need to reach in order to sell enough books for that ad to pay for itself, it just doesn’t add up. You’d likely run out of money before your book could gain enough traction to break even, never mind earn back your investment.
Instead of focusing solely on book sales, a better way to realize massive profits from your book is to consider how you can use it to help sell your higher-end products and services. Put another way, how might you use your book on the front end to reap huge rewards on the back end?
Before I get into the details, there is one prerequisite that must be in place for any of these strategies to perform: You must write a relevant, substantive, enjoyable book.
Assuming this is the case, here are three ways you can use your book to enhance your business growth:
1. Use your book as a loss leader to big profits.
This is where you give your book away in a targeted and thoughtful manner to those who would be ideal clients. This is not the same as setting up a table at a conference with a sign that says “take one.” That’s an expensive scattershot approach that devalues your book.
A better strategy is to make a list of your best high-end prospects and send them an autographed copy of your book with a note. Ideally, you’ve done a little groundwork, so you already have a bit of a rapport.
I had a client, a corporate consultant, use this strategy. He gave his self-published book to a handful of highly targeted prospects. Those giveaways helped him close several six- to seven-figure deals.
Think about it: How would it change your life if you gave away 100 copies of your book each year to such a curated list of prospects?
2. Increase the value of your time.
This is a game-changer for coaches and consultants or anyone who trades time for dollars.
If your book is a how-to in your area of expertise, or even if it simply offers a foundational understanding of your philosophy and how you approach your work, it can help you to initiate new clients and serve as a guide as they move through your process.
By doing so, you get to stop hearing yourself say the same thing over and over. But more importantly, you won’t have to spend one-on-one time with your clients going over the basic information you give everyone because the book lays all that groundwork for you.
When new clients have your book, you can hit the ground running and spend your time with them focused on their particular situation and needs. This makes your time more valuable to them, which means you can charge more for your time.
I used this strategy with my book How to Write A Book That Sells You, and immediately, I was able to command five times the rate I charged before my book came out.
If you want to take this a step further, you can turn your book’s content into an online course for consumers, create a certification program to “train the trainer,” who can then use your methodology with their clients, or you could license other organizations and entities to teach your methods internally to their teams.
3. Use your book as a lead magnet.
Once your book is out, you can offer it for sale on your website. One way to do this is with a “free plus shipping” offer. Or you can sell the book at full cover price and include a downloadable bonus. The benefit of this is that you get not only the sale but also the contact info of the purchaser. It’s a great way to build your list and nurture lasting relationships with your book buyers and, ultimately, turn them into high-end clients.
The Bottom Line is this:
If you’re stuck in the tunnel-vision mindset of “book sales for the sake of book sales,” you’re missing out on 99% of the opportunities of having a book. Expand your focus and use your book to grow your business and attract dream clients and customers.